Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reading Baby Books While Pregnant.

When I was pregnant with Paul, I read a TON of baby books.  What to Expect, Girlfriends Guide, Natural Childbirth, Babywise, Happiest Baby on the Block, etc. etc. etc.  I felt armed with knowledge.  Then the baby came and all that I read and researched was thrown directly out the window because I was simply trying to survive.  Which is obviously difficult with no sleep and a tiny person attached to your breast. 

So this time I got a little smarter and decided to forgo the baby books because what is more informational than actual experience?  Sure, I like to glance at What to Expect once in awhile to see what crazy symptoms I could be experiencing, but overall I feel confident that the first 6 weeks are awful, and then we will come out of the fog and learn to function on little sleep and raging hormones.  Sound fun?

Although I have resisted reading traditional baby books, I have picked up the book Bringing Up Bebe.  I am sure this was a bad idea.

Bringing up Bebe is about an American women and her British husband who live in France and decide to raise their children there.  The author describes the differences between French children and American children.  For example, French children sleep through the night faster.  They eat better (no children's menus or constant pleading for macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets).  French families take their children out to dinner and apparently it is a nice experience.  No one is running around or trying to weasel their way out of a high chair.  There is no yelling or screaming or throwing of food.  They eat off the regular menu.  And they are polite.

According to the author, French moms typically go back to work at three months and their children are in very affordable daycare.  They go to preschool, they go on overnight trips starting in first grade with their classes.  French parents take their kids to the park and can allegedly carry on adult conversations while their children play.  They do not have to stop mid sentence to redirect or chase someone who is trying to escape the playground.  This scenario sounds intriguing, sounds delightful, and sounds like a load of horseshit.

After I read this entire book, I still cannot figure out how you would parent in this fashion.  The author discussed some pause time.  When you hear your baby crying in the middle of the night, you should pause for a few minutes before going to get them to see if they can self-soothe and go back to sleep on their own.  Okay.  How long is a few minutes?  2?  17?  I need concrete facts.  I need a French mom to come live in my house while I have this new baby and hold me down on the bed while I give the newborn some pause time. 

The author also indicated that French women have their children on a schedule almost immediately and that the entire country has their kids on the same schedule so when their son or daughter arrives at daycare, the routine is reinforced.  French parents are not "helicopter" parents.  They make sure their kids have time to play alone and get bored and then figure out what to do to entertain themselves.  Allegedly they expect their children to act a certain way, and for the most part these kids do.

You should not read this book if you have a two year old.  A two year old who is not the most relaxing person on a dinner date.  Who does throw food or try to run around a restaurant unless you bombard his brain with annoying games on your iphone.  You should not read this book if you are constantly redirecting your two-year old and even when you have play dates the adults can hardly finish a sentence, let alone a story without intervening in some toddler crisis.  This book will only make you feel bad and if you are pregnant in addition to raising a two year old, you will have odd fantasies of packing up the entire family, moving to France where someone has to SHOW you how to get your baby to sleep through the night while your eldest eats a variety of cheese and croissants.  You have been officially warned.  You should read this book before you have kids so you can continue to be idealistic and naive about how child rearing will go.  Otherwise, it has the strong possibility to make you feel bad.

Have you read this book?  What were your thoughts?


  1. I saw the author on TV awhile ago. She's an absolute fruitloop.

  2. Eff the French. They've brought nothing useful to the world community since the bikini. Boom.

  3. Do I dare say, I enjoyed this book...a lot. The whole pacifier thing is not something I subscribe too, but on the whole I Iike to imagine this utopian parenthood where moms can drink their lattes, stay skinny, all the while the children entertain themselves. Yes, please.

  4. I have not read this book...sounds interesting and controversial!


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